On Thursday, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark found himself back in the spotlight when he said some of his teammates smoke marijuana and that players around the league know how to avoid testing positive for the drug. On Friday, Steelers team president Art Rooney II was asked by Channel 4 Action News to comment on what Clark had to say.
“I don’t really have anything to follow up on with Ryan,” Rooney said. “The collective bargaining agreement considers marijuana a banned substance and I’m not sure I see that changing anytime soon.”
During his Thursday appearance on ESPN’s “First Take“, Clark said players around the league, including some his own teammates, smoke marijuana to help with pain and to relieve stress.
“I know guys on my team who smoke,” Clark said. “And it’s not a situation where you think, ‘Oh, these are guys trying to be cool.’ These are guys who want to do it recreationally.
“A lot of it is stress relief. A lot of it is pain and medication. Guys feel like, ‘If I can do this, it keeps me away from maybe Vicodin, it keeps me away from pain prescription drugs and things that guys get addicted to.’ Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to stress relieve and also to medicate themselves for pain. Guys are still going to do it.”
While Clark didn’t name any names of teammates that use marijuana, his admission that a few of them do certainly couldn’t have pleased Rooney. In addition, Clark, who is also the team’s NFLPA representative, spoke out about how lax the testing policy for drug is.
“There is one random test during OTAs and minicamps during the offseason, and everybody will be tested early in training camp,” said Clark. “After that, there are no more tests. So guys understand the ways to get around failing a drug test.”
Clark will be an unrestricted free agent in March and has likely played his final down in a Steelers uniform. If the Steelers did have any thoughts about possibly re-signing this offseason, you have to wonder if the comments he made Thursday about his teammates might make the front office think twice about doing so.